The ballstrikers burden


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Ben Hogan, the quintessential ballstriker, was rather clear on this topic – putting has too much influence in golf.

Hogan, of course, was not the best putter of his era, nor is Greg Owen but that was obvious earlier this week at Walt Disney World Resort when we asked how the Englishman’s season was going. “I’m top 40 (44th) in greens in regulation and 184th in earnings, you tell me it’s not a putting contest,” said Owen, who is currently tied for 10th at Disney.

Charles Warren, who is tied with Owen at 7 under, can sympathize. “You cannot hit it good enough to score good enough,” said Warren, first in total driving and second in ballstriking but struggling at 157th on the money list.

To Warren’s point, of the top 10 players in the ballstriking category, a combination of total driving and greens in regulation, just one (D.J. Trahan at 47th) ranked inside the top 70 in earnings. Of the top 10 players in total driving, a combination of accuracy and distance off the tee, just two (Hunter Mahan at 10th and Ryan Moore at 31st) were inside the top 70 in earnings.

Conversely, of the top 10 players in total putting three (Matt Kuchar, first; Luke Donald, seventh and Paul Casey eighth) were in the top 10 in cash and every player in the top 10 in total putting kept their Tour cards in 2010.

Maybe Hogan was onto something.